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Prioritizing mental health for sales reps: A guide to overcoming challenges and thriving in the industry

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month in Canada. The important goal here is to raise awareness about mental health challenges that people face to reduce the stigma involved.

Many sales professionals secretly struggle with stress, depression and anxiety, as well as several other issues. Daily work demands and pressure in sales can exacerbate these things. 


Identifying issues and their root causes


Sales representatives often work independently, which can lead to feelings of isolation. Spending too much time solo can accelerate setbacks in their day-to-day job demands. It takes both discipline and motivation to continuously drive sales and business.

Overdoing it in sales or even not having the proper focus to drive sales can result in burnout. Deals that fail or clients who are unsatisfied can impact one’s sense of self, yet self-esteem and resilience are essential to succeed in this line of work.


Accessible, actionable solutions


Setbacks are a big part of being in sales, but what will you do to overcome these challenges in the field? Having a supportive work environment that emphasizes open communication will encourage sales representatives to speak openly about mental health challenges and try taking action, like with these readily available solutions.


Practice physical self-care


Sales professionals are often faced with long hours and irregular schedules. This can take a big toll on their physical well-being, which then can impact their mental well-being and enthusiasm to persevere.

I don’t know about you, but when I don’t sleep properly, not only is it hard to function, but I’m in a sour mood all day. It’s crucial for sales professionals to prioritize their mental health by practicing physical self-care. Going to the gym or doing an enjoyable physical activity can make all the difference, as exercise releases feel-good hormones (endorphins) — the best natural anti-depressant in the world.


Set boundaries


Another way sales professionals can feel better is to seek support from colleagues and mentors. By delegating specific work like administrative tasks (which most sales representatives hate), more time is freed up.

Learning to set boundaries between work and personal life is very worthwhile in preventing exhaustion for those in sales roles. For example, you can ensure that work begins and ends at certain times. Even the physical work environment can make a difference to your overall well-being, so add what brings you joy and switch it up whenever possible.


Find (or create) support at work


Brokers can and should create a supportive work environment that emphasizes open communication. Those who speak openly about mental health challenges can empower sales representatives and staff to ask for help when they need it, making a huge positive impact on them.


Get out and socialize … or take time for yourself


Some of us are more naturally sociable than others. So, pay attention to what you need — is it to socialize more or to get some extra peace and quiet in, such as with a time-out for regular meditation? We all recharge our batteries differently, and knowing what works best for you will be an individual discovery process.


Interventions for brokerages to help improve the mental health of sales team members


Addressing mental health requires a combination of education, support and flexibility within the workplace. The idea is to create a supportive culture, fostering a positive environment. Mental health can improve over time, and by being proactive, companies can create a more resilient workforce.

The following interventions can result in improved productivity and performance, reduction in burnout, employee retention and increased job satisfaction.

1. Educate sales professionals about mental health and conduct workshops led by mental health experts. Topics can include stress management and signs of mental health problems. This will help foster and promote a more supportive work environment.

2. EAPs (Employee Assistance Programs) can provide sales professionals with the right level of support, with access to confidential counseling and online resources.

3. Remote work options and flexible hours at the office can accomplish the goal of work-life balance. The stress of long commutes to the workplace can be alleviated and self-care can be prioritized.

4. Time off and regular breaks prevent burnout, and they help sales professionals get adequate rest and rejuvenation. Maybe employees can take a day off specifically for mental wellness without using their regular leave.

5. Creating peer support networks within the workplace allows salespeople to share experiences and coping strategies. Trained professionals can make sure they remain productive and supported.


Mental health challenges are nothing to be embarrassed about. Know that if the struggles are just too much, it’s more than okay to seek professional help — therapy is very normal and common, and therapists exist to support our overall well-being. By taking proper action and having some level of control over your circumstances, you can begin to feel better.


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